Striders Weekly Update 24/11/2022

Posted: 24/11/2022

On Saturday, members from Scrabo Striders were dressed in their best for the Club’s Annual Dinner and Awards Night. The evening celebrated the achievements of individual members and the club as a whole over the past year, as well as the culmination of the Eight Strides competition.

Kicking off the presentations were the awards for the Cross Country 2021 Team, with members who completed 7 or more races in the season awarded with a trophy. Well done to Norman Mawhinney, Graeme McGowan, Peter Briggs, Steven Pearson, Fiona McAvoy, Jenny Taylor, Martina Finn, Amanda Martin, Dawn Ross, Caroline Smyth, Janice Scott, Barbara McKechnie, Stevie Campbell and Dan Foord.

The Coaches’ Awards were then presented to club athletes that the coaching team thought deserved special recognition; this year being given to Michael Burgess, Kim Cochrane and Elaine McGonigal.

The ladies’ and men’s Captains each year present an award to members they feel have made a particularly noteworthy achievement in the preceding twelve months. Men’s Captain Paul Blair chose Neil Mearns and Ladies’ Captain Amanda Martin selected Jenny Taylor.

The Vice Captains’ Shield was presented to winner of the VC ‘Naked’ Race, Mick Honeyman. Louise Barnes and George McGonigal received prizes for being the club’s Time Trialers of the Year, while Colin Harper and Karen Clarke were recognised as Club Racers of the Year. Newcomer of the Year awards were presented to Matt and Rachel Bell.

Finishers of the Eight Strides competition each received a prize, with a total of forty three club members having completed eight or more of a selection of open races of varying distances. Special recognition was given to overall Age Grade winners Norman Mawhinney and Jenny Taylor, as well as Most Improved Age Grade awarded to Heath Graham.

A selection of more light hearted awards followed, as did the raffle, before the atmosphere once again turned to competition, and old rivalries came to the fore for the annual Rock The Boat dance competition (this year again clinched by the ladies’ team).

Congratulations to all winners, and to everyone who has represented the Club so well over the course of the last year. The Committee would like to pay special thanks to Olli Seeger for the organisation of the evening.

Sunday saw the continuation of the Cross Country series with the Comber Cup hosted by Ballydrain Harriers. With conditions slightly less muddy than some recent years, kicking off proceedings was the P6 and P7 race with four Junior Striders taking part. First home was Adam Haylett, followed by Rory Braniff, Keara Simpson and Jake Clarke.

The next race was the U14, U16 and U18 categories, with Luke Braniff and Lucas Darragh first Striders across the line in 13:01, followed by Ethan Lappin (13:57), Willow Farrington (14:37) and William Murphy (16:32).

The Senior and Veteran Ladies race was next up, with Shannon Clegg the fastest Strider finishing in 27:53. Next over the line was Martina McKenna in 30:19, with Jenny Taylor following in 33 minutes exactly. Ladies’ Captain Amanda Martin was the next club finisher in 34:19, followed by Fiona McAvoy (35:32), Beverley McKee (36:38), Claire Briggs (37:50), Phillippa Wilson (39:33), Emma McCracken (41:53), Sheena Crone (41:46), Helen Potts (42:57), with Cheryl Alexander and Jenna Lavery crossing the finish line together in 43:59.

Alongside the Ladies’ Race was the Masters Men’s race, where Norman Mawhinney claimed first place in 24:33, and John Brown finished in 32:36.

The final race of the day was the Senior Men’s race, with eleven Striders taking part. Martin Strachan was first club runner home in 31:33. Finishing in under 40 mins were Andy Haylett (35:24), Neil Mearns (35:47), Graeme McGowan (38:18) and Daniel Clarke (38:20). Next in were Jonathan Bull (40:24), Peter McGonigal (41:59), Peter Briggs (42:40), Steven Pearson (45:19), George McGonigal (46:25) and Heath Graham in 49:48.

Well done to all for getting out and representing the Club (some after a night of partying at the Awards Dinner the previous evening!).

As usual, parkruns were a big draw over the weekend, with Club members staging a “takeover” of Orangefield parkrun on Saturday – with the majority of the volunteer roles being filled by Striders. In total, the club had 50 runners participating in 10 parkrun venues, the most popular of which was Orangefield where Thomas Steele and Norman Mawhinney took 2nd and 3rd place, and Rachel Lyttle was 1st Female. Eight Course Personal Bests were recorded at Orangefield, as well as nine first timers.

Elsewhere, Curtis McCaw was 2nd Overall in Comber while Amelia Henderson achieved a Personal Best at Victoria Park.

Junior Parkrun on Sunday saw Keara Simpson 3rd Female in Comber, followed over the line by Isabella Haylett, Adam Haylett and Lydia Blair. At Victoria Park, Luke Braniff claimed 2nd overall, followed by Rory Braniff. Well done to all, especially those who then went on to run in the Cross Country later the same day!

Scrabo Striders is an all abilities running club with 4 training sessions a week, as well as weekly social runs (both road and trail), club races, and social events. Training sessions are free to try for potential members so why not come and give it a go? See or search Scrabo Striders on Facebook for more information.


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